I arrived in Pittsburgh ten days ago and landed in the middle of a party. The entire city seemed to have turned out, crowding the Clemente bridge over the Allegheny River. Music blared. Boats made lazy circles. Kayakers moved into the center of the waterway then stopped, bobbing on the easy current.
On the bridge, the crowd was almost as thick as the smoke from the food that rose into the still, cool evening air from the food tents pressed next to each other. The whole thing had the tone of a state fair…or a city-wide party. Even though Pirate fever had the city in it’s grips, I didn’t think this was a celebratory thing–the Pirates had yet to play their won-or-done game to get into the post season (they eventually won–now THAT was a party–Pittsburgh does love it’s sports teams).
“What’s the occasion?” I asked my friend, wine in hand as we both gazed down on the throng from the perfect vantage point: her apartment overlooking the river, high above the fray. “I bet, if we’re willing to fight for it, we could score a funnel cake. Or maybe some crepe pancakes from Pamela’s.” Taking in the incredible confluence of three major rivers, I eyed the boats which were multiplying as we watched. “Who are they all waiting for?” I’m thinking some dignitary or the other, like the Emperor of the Universe, is the only thing that could pull this many folks out–Pittsburgh ain’t that big.
“The duck.” My friend announced as she freshened my glass of wine.
“Hmmm,” she said with a twinkle in her eye as she nodded toward the view through the window.
Sure enough, bobbing down the river, urged on by a tow-boat, came the very recognizable form of a child’s rubber duck, although the scale had been altered somewhat, as you can see by the photo. I must’ve been living under a rock or lost in my own imaginary world as I had not heard of this particular art installation. the forty-foot high Rubber Duckie, a creation of Dutch artist Florentijin Hofman, has graced other international cities since 2007, but Pittsburgh is the first US city to host The Duck–quite the coup in the art world, so I’ve been told.
Before I saw the duck, I couldn’t imagine what all the furor is about. Now I know….
Immediately that silly duck transported me to a simpler time, a time far removed from adult worries and the world horrors that inundate us 24/7. For a moment, along with the entire population of Pittsburgh, I relaxed into the memories of being a child again.
And the whole duck thing got me thinking: When I need a break or when I need to write, how do I push the real world away?
Whimsical characters populate my desk. Here’s a sampling:
And then there’s this one: my frog prince…the only prince I’ve been able to find so far, he gives me hope:) The black sheep is self-explanatory–at least to those who know me:) And he is a badge I wear with pride.
Each of these makes me smile and helps me find my “writing place.”
When you want to push the world away, what helps you?